A Pediatric Dentist Weighs in on Holiday Treats :: It’s Good News!

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October: Halloween
November: Thanksgiving
December: Christmas and Hanukkah

We are smack dab in the middle of the sugar coma that is the holidays. It’s a wonderful time of year, but for those of us with young children whose teeth are basically our responsibility, it can be a bit overwhelming. (And we won’t even start on the sugar highs, the crashes, and the time change that came on the heels of Halloween.) We consulted our friends at Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry to give us their best tips on how to manage influx of treats while helping our kids maintain healthy teeth, and they delivered!

Chocolate wins

Did we just tell you to feed your kids chocolate? Kind of. When you look around at all of the options for stuffing stockings, distributing at parties, etc., chocolate is the easiest on teeth. The fact that it’s more melty than sticky is a big deal! The goal is to keep sugary foods from camping out in your child’s mouth, and those Hershey’s Kisses have a lot less staying power than a Laffy Taffy or Starbursts.

Pro tip: Water, water, water. Give your child some water to swig after treats. It’s an easy way to wash away some of the sugar.

Quality over quantity

Does your child want a cupcake? That’s great! Having one huge cupcake in one sitting is much better for oral health than having smaller items spread out. The same rule goes for special beverages such as hot chocolate or soft drinks. Have your child sit and enjoy one large treat or beverage vs. nibbling or sipping here and there, and then move on. Rinse with water or brush teeth afterwards, and you’re good to go!

Pro tip: It’s ok to be the mean mom and tell your child no to multiple treats per day. It’s also ok to politely decline when your child is offered holiday candy every time you turn around. A little bit here and there adds up this time of year!


The last few weeks of the year are wonderful with all of their meals, gatherings, and celebrations. Once they end, commit to a reset. Kids can get used to all of the special cookies, hot chocolate, candies, and more, but they can also come off of it pretty easily. Set a deadline for Christmas candy, and stick to it. “Christmas is over, so we are going to clean out the candy on New Year’s Eve.” 

Pro tip: Make some of your stocking stuffers fun items that promote dental health. New toothbrushes (like the ones that spin), toothpaste, and floss can be exciting, especially for younger children. Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry has children’s Sonicare toothbrushes available for $40 if you’re looking for a gift idea!

Enjoy the holidays with those you love, and embrace the fact that treats are part of this special time of year. Find a balance, and relax!

Appointments are filling up quickly for the end of the year, so give Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry a call soon! Most insurance benefits reset at the start of a new year, so don’t let your 2019 benefits go unused. There are also openings the first few days of the new year before schools start again.
Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry
Dr. Jeff Flannery


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Jenny-Lyn was born in Decatur, grew up in Ohio, and moved to Birmingham as a teenager. Her favorite things about Birmingham include sweet tea, the use of Sir and Ma’am, and the way people offer friendly smiles while out and about. Oh, and the food. Jenny’s background is sales and marketing, each of which she enjoys putting to use behind the scenes with Birmingham Mom Collective. After getting married, Jenny moved from Birmingham to Minneapolis where she invites anyone interested to visit around August. She’s strongly connected to Birmingham through friends, family, and of course Birmingham Mom Collective. Jenny and her husband Soo-Young have two sons, Michael and Jonathan. She guesses she’s officially a boy mom, and that’s a pretty good thing to be in her book.